World Entrepreneurs’ Day: The role of cultural entrepreneurship in building Brand India

On the occasion of World Entrepreneurs’ Day, let’s dive into what is cultural entrepreneurship and why we need to empower it to build the Brand India story.
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On World Entrepreneurs’ Day, we celebrate founders, producers, innovators. and all those who build and grow successful businesses. It gives us an opportunity to acknowledge and appreciate innovation, entrepreneurship, and leadership throughout the world.

Let us use the occasion to also recognise cultural entrepreneurship and the need to empower it in India.

Cultural Entrepreneurship is defined as businesses or activities aimed primarily at the commercialisation of goods and services of cultural and artistic nature that are connected with the cultural or historical heritage of a region.

Cultural entrepreneurs are those who build economically sustainable enterprises that create cultural value and wealth for both producers and consumers of cultural services and products.

The cultural and creative economy of a country leverages the commercial potential of its indigenous culture, heritage, and knowledge transformed into a product, service, or experience.

The export of cultural and creative goods or services at the global level significantly enhances a country’s brand value, and, in turn, its soft power.

Over the last couple of decades, we have made remarkable advances in the global IT services market. The Indian IT industry has transformed itself from being a supplier of low-cost job-shop labor to doing contract work for hire for Western customers to becoming branded providers of complete high-end enterprise transformation services with their own intellectual property, products, processes, and models.

Today, TCS and Infosys are multi-billion dollar international brands. Indian tech startups like Zoho, Freshworks, and thousands more compete with the best in the world.

Is it possible to learn from the success of the Indian IT and startups successes and apply the learnings to the world of cultural enterprises? We believe it is.

The coming together of an ecosystem for IT services and tech startups played a seminal role in the emergence of India as a major player on the world stage in these areas.

Did you know that the global yoga industry alone is over $80 billion with yoga apparel, accessories, equipment, studios, and diet showing constant growth? And yet, we have no Indian brands as key players in the global health and wellness market. While we retain bragging rights to being the originators of yoga and making June 21 the World Yoga Day, others are taking all the benefits.

India is the seventh-largest exporter of cultural and creative goods across the world, and yet, it doesn’t make a mark on the world stage. This is apparent when one looks at large global opportunities from fashion and accessories to home decor and furnishings, to food and beverages and even tourism.

Over the decades, there have been extensive efforts by multiple individuals, groups, governments, and others to harness these cultural assets into brands that not only provide economic value and livelihoods but also help in creating a Brand India that is valued and respected worldwide.

These efforts have largely focused on the supply side such as working with artisan/weaver groups and providing them with much-needed training, design, manufacturing, and other inputs.

However, it is equally vital to address the demand side of the business, which includes an understanding of trends, markets and customers, product design sensibilities, global supply chain, technology, branding, partnerships, quality standards, and legal issues. It is this jugalbandi of the demand and supply sides that will create successful businesses and brands.

Changing demographics have modified the needs and aspirations of new consumers around the world. They now seek sustainable, authentic, and holistic products, services, and experiences.

In addition, according to the Think with Google 2020 report, Indian consumers are also proud to be desi. This rise in an assertive, confident, aware class of talented Indians alongside a rise in buying power and changing tastes, is what augurs well for the success of Indian cultural brands.

The increased availability of capital from angel and VC funds to the increased usage of digital platforms to social media-based marketing have also helped in the emergence of a new breed of cultural entrepreneurs who are not only customer and market-focused, led by a keen sense of design, but are also comfortable with technology and great at articulating their vision for their companies.

Any number of cultural enterprise “startups” are emerging every day and many are attracting angel and venture capital funding. The outlook for creating 100s of FabIndias, Shahnaz Husains, Jaypores, Amuls, and other iconic brands has never been better.

It is time we all come together to empower India's cultural entrepreneurs by harnessing the current potential of entrepreneurship across our country and bridging our rich cultural past to a deservedly bright future of a model nation.

It is time for Brand India to take shape.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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